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7 Questions with Gelem Lluberes
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7 Questions with Gelem Lluberes
Name: Gelem Lluberes
Current title: VP of Project Execution Service Agreements EU-AF-AP
Current organisation: Siemens Energy
Gelem Lluberes is responsible for the execution of Service Agreements for Power Generation overseeing Europe, Africa and Asia for Siemens Energy. In addition, she serves as Board Member of Future Energy Leaders at the World Energy Council and as part of Siemens Diversity Ambassadors focused on development and inclusion based in Berlin, Germany.
She began her career in energy after graduating from INTEC with a Degree in Industrial Engineering. Her roles with Eaton Electrical expanded across Production, design and Lean Manufacturing; she later joined Nestle and Siemens Energy, holding leadership positions in Sales, Strategy, Portfolio Management and Business Development.
Her experiences in Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, China and Germany in combination with her Master’s in Business and Change Management have strengthened her cognitive diversity and enabled her to contribute to Siemens’ Digital Transformation.
Passionate about helping people and organizations envision different futures and coaching their way into a better tomorrow. These days focused on making energy greener and fostering diversity of thought within the Energy Industry.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
One of the challenges I've faced is igniting the spirit of challenge and disruption originated from inside the organization in large - well established- successful environments. Finding the right audience, trigger and optimal time period to create momentum.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey has been a mix of choice and chance. I started very young and eager to create change; this has been a constant in my career.
I had clear priorities and great mentors who encouraged me to go after challenging opportunities. I had the fortune to meet extremely good peers and contributors who supported my vision and helped me and the organization achieve successes along the way.
Most of all, learning from not only my achievements but also my failures, collecting feedback and growing from there have made me a better candidate when the next opportunities are available.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Hmm! interesting question...most people ask about the work periods only...
I am an early bird. I try to give myself enough rest and sleep so I don't use a wake up alarm, however I wake every day around 5ish (am).
I do 10-15 mins meditation and a quick read on something new every day while having a coffee and petting my 11 year old companion (a Spanisch stray cat named Sparkles). This helps me start the day with an open mind by learning something new even if it is something really small (20mins).
After that, I am ready for a more physical stimulus (30-40 mins workout) which helps me moderate the energy levels throughout the day. I need this, especially on long days filled with back to back meetings.
A quick turn of the daily news and at around 7:00 am I am ready to start the work day, where the fun starts!
I schedule 15 mins to go around our Company's Social Network, see what's new and every now and then post also some of my personal thoughts.
My workdays are filled with meetings: customer meetings, strategy alignments, project reviews, innovation panels, decision and synchronization meetings, mentoring and coaching chats. All of that now mostly virtual due to COVID-19 measures.
I try to schedule 8-12 minutes in between meetings so that I can prepare and reflect on what has been discussed and next steps. This also helps me come to meetings and focus immediately as I am not just rushing from one to the next.
I use the lunch breaks to connect with other colleagues, however, now that we work mostly from home, I also use the time 2-3 times a week to have a nice 30 mins lunch and catch up with my Partner (who has a similarly structured day)
I block some slots normally between 16:00 and 18:00 to work on topics that require my full brain power, since there are less ad-hoc calls and interruptions.
At 19:00 I normally cook dinner and decompress; with a satisfied tummy and a fresh mind I look at my schedule for the next day and prepare accordingly.
Before bed, I read a little or catch up on some TV shows to unplug my brain.
Yes, the workdays are pretty packed. Which allows me to use the rest of the week to recharge, read, go schedule-less and dream about bigger projects to contribute to a better world.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I tend to work towards big changes and miss on enjoying the small hours; this can sometimes impact the collaboration with others.
A good friend and mentor reminded me to 'Live the Dream' everyday all day through small and big impact moments. I am working on it!
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Ilse Janda, 14 oder Die Ilse ist weg from Christine Nöstlinger.
This book is not directly linked to Business, but to the search of a young lady to find her voice and space within her problematic circumstances.
This was one of my first book purchases when I was around 8 years old. As a child, my mother had the tradition to take me and my sisters to the yearly national book fair to find new treasures to devour after school. That particular year, I 'negotiated' with my mother the possibility of selecting and purchasing my own books autonomously. In retrospect, I might have meant nothing to her but to me, it was an eye opener. I strategized and planned my arguments to convince her, made a map of the fair to ensure I would use my budget wisely and avoid missing out on the right book due to a precipitated decision.
What it taught me:
- Dare to ask, you create your own opportunities and possibilities by articulating your thoughts and desires to the right audience.
- Plan ahead, try to map out the challenges and risks before execution and your mitigation measures.
- Be open to the unexpected, plans are almost never 100% realized as on the paper. This book found me and not the other way around.
- Give people the freedom to act; a sense of true empowerment goes the long way.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Develop your people.
Eliminate the guesswork by being clear with your expectations and boundary conditions.
Give them a platform to be visible and let them fly.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
A time when I felt discouraged by not creating change at the speed I anticipated. I had a very open conversation with one of my direct reports where she could see a more vulnerable side of me...I felt out of place and a bit ashamed even. Her words and understanding gave me strength to dust myself up and continue the journey. She gave me some examples and said: '...with that, you have created more impact than you account for, you might not see it but we do and we need you to continue'.
Again, the lesson is to appreciate the journey step by step.